Labour’s Complex Route to Power

Posted on March 27, 2022

When I was looking at the opinion polls yesterday, I found myself wondering how it would be possible for the Labour Party to find a working majority at the next election. Every time I found a solution, any vote gain I could envisage, was counteracted by losses. These losses would be caused by any ideological shifting to the right or left.

Johnson Losing Votes

It seems pretty clear to me that Johnson will lose votes. This is because if you did poll of everyone I know, a fair few Tories amongst them who won’t vote for him again (some are even denying they did in 2019). Many people were panicked into voting for Johnson last time and they hoped he might not be as bad as predicted.

Voting for Johnson is a bit like opting for an unstable partner, lost in the false hope it will all be okay in the end. Initial denial of poor behaviour and deceit will get you so far but, in the end, most people cut loose. Unfortunately, it’s normally too late to reverse the damage that has been inflicted. Like Trump in the US, Johnson has become an even worse person with power, not a more tamed and pragmatic one.

Scattered Losses

Out of those votes Johnson inevitably loses, a scattering will go the way of Labour, the Lib Dems and perhaps the odd independent or Green candidate. The Tories will consolidate in most Brexit areas and many of the blue wall shires (where I live, for example) would vote for Myra Hindley if you stuck a blue badge on her blouse. A few of the shires may fall the way of the Lib Dems due to fear of major housing developments, but it won’t be many.

So, that would leave a centre-left Labour government around about neck and neck with the Tories. An optimistic view would be a 20-seat Labour victory. That would still not be enough for a working majority. There is a sniff of good news for Labour. No one will seek an alliance with a Johnson led Tory Party. They won’t be able to rely on the Lib Dems to bail them out this time.


Of course, Labour could attempt a coalition with the SNP but that is riddled with danger. I have sympathy with the SNP cause. Scottish people didn’t want to lose their right to be in the EU and they have (like her or not) a formidable leader who actually leads. However, the Scots are unlikely to want to join forces with a Labour Party that has seemingly accepted Brexit. Conversely, Labour is unlikely to risk losing any centre right votes spooked by a party teaming up with Nicola Sturgeon. Basically, unless there is a seismic ideological shift, a Labour/SNP coalition isn’t happening.

This leaves us with the Lib Dems and the Greens. The Lib Dems (thanks to 2 by-election victories) now have 13 seats. If the Tories persist with Johnson, there could be the potential for this to rise to, say, 25. The Greens gained a million votes and 3 seats in 2019, and may well pick up a couple more in 2024. Most sensible people wouldn’t be bothered by a Labour/Lib Dem/Green coalition rather than Johnson’s chaotic populist movement. However, history tells us that a lot of people aren’t sensible.

Even if even that coalition did come together, it still wouldn’t offer a majority government due to the SNP stronghold in Scotland. It also doesn’t consider the Labour votes potentially lost by pushing back to the centre. Labour purists hate Starmer almost as much as they hate Johnson and there will be a good few who, ideologically, won’t vote for him. This is where I fall out with them, as I voted for Corbyn (twice) despite not being entirely ideologically matched to him. To get Johnson and his mob of chancers out, ideological sacrifices have to be made, in my opinion.

The Unshakeable 35%

Ultimately, the Tories will probably hold onto 35% of the vote. We have seen biblical abuse of public finance, breaking of international law, inflation heading to dangerous places and an impending cost of living crisis that will kick the vulnerable onto the streets. Tell that to a hard-line Johnson voter and he will send you a meme of Diane Abbott mocked up as a pig. You won’t get any sense out of them, so it is not worth pursuing them for votes.

It leaves us in the position where 65% of the voting population know that Johnson is utterly unfit to govern. However, he knows that if he can reduce the number of people who don’t vote for him to 60%, he has another stonking majority. All he has to do is fall off his bike or make a joke at David Lammy’s expense and he has the future in his palm.

How depressing is that?

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